My words today, not surprisingly, will be words of thanks, of admiration, and of acknowledgement of the source of all our blessings.
Firstly, thanks. Just a week away from our memorable visitation, thanks are due to a great many people, but in particular, to the pastoral team and to the committee that organized our parish ministries fair. These people worked awfully hard to plan the archbishop’s visit and the fair. Both were what can rightly be called a great success. The archbishop and his companion for the visit, Barb Dowding, were visibly impressed by everything they heard and saw. All of this, we owe to the careful preparation of this event by the two groups that I’ve mentioned here, and by all those who stepped up to the plate to help them. Those of you who visited the fair saw, as we all did, the quality of the displays, and the preparedness of each ministry and group to receive the people who visited their display. It was truly impressive. To all of you, on behalf of the parish, I say simply, thank you and God bless you.
Secondly, admiration. As I listened to group after group sharing what they do with the archbishop with such passion, I couldn’t help but be in constant admiration of this parish. During each presentation, I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit, just beneath the surface. It was truly a time of grace, a time to take a step back, look at ourselves as a parish, and take the full measure of the incredible zeal, ardor, fervor, and depth of commitment of seemingly every group and ministry in the parish. It is a wonder to behold.
Thirdly, acknowledgement of the source of all our blessings. It is precisely a wonder to behold, something bigger than we are, something that doesn’t find its explanation in natural, psychological or sociological factors. It is all grace. I don’t know why, but God seems to have chosen to grace our parish with an unusual and sustained outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the result of which is a rarely seen vitality in terms of being Church, being the Body of Christ, the ongoing presence and ministry of Jesus to the world. What can we do but acknowledge it, and humbly give thanks for it. And pray to God that the resounding work of the Holy Spirit will never result in any kind of smugness or pride; that we will stay humble, never losing sight of the fact that every good and evangelical thing that happens in our parish is all the doing of the Holy Spirit. God shines best in the lives of the humble. By the grace of God, may we remain always tiny, so that He can shine.
Another magical event is just around the corner: next Friday is our Gala Dinner at the Italian Cultural Centre. It’s still possible to get tickets by contacting Teresa Lung at firstname.lastname@example.org. Coming as it does on the heels of our parish visitation and ministries fair, it won’t only be a fund-raiser and a fun evening. It will be a celebration of the parish that we are, made so evident during the parish visitation and ministries fair.
For all of these blessings, let “our soul make its boast” – not in ourselves, but as is more appropriate – “in the Lord”.